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Cultural Interchange

Parish Action Plan Success Stories – Cultural Interchange

Objective: Promote an interchange among the various cultural communities within a parish and draw on resources of archdiocesan departments to build stronger intercultural connections.

Parish Action Plans

Holy Ghost, Houston (West)

Action Plan:
Promote faith and citizenship by engaging all parishioners.

Success Story:
Partnering with the "Faith and Citizenship" organization (Concetarz Comunidad), the group implemented the immigration reform recommendations of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). This included a postcard campaign and participation in "Fortnight for Freedom".

A Respect Life committee was formed and is working with the Archdiocesan Respect Life ministry. View the video about the Respect life work and the Gabriel Project work in the parish. All meetings are conducted in Spanish.

Web site: holyghostchurch.net

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Manvel

Action Plan #1:
Engage Filipino community to incorporate their traditions and celebrations into all parish activities thereby exposing all parishioners to multi-cultural celebrations and activities.

Success Story #1:
A Filipino member of the pastoral council mentioned activities among Filipino parishioners were held in their homes rather than on church grounds. This conversation created the catalyst to promote these Filipino programs and invite all parishioners. The first activity was the October Bazaar where there was a Filipino food booth.

Two other activities, a weekly event and a yearly celebration, were formerly held at a Filipino home. Now, they are celebrated in the parish hall and open to everyone. The parish is benefiting from the new level of vitality and sharing among the parishioners.

Action Plan #2:
Engage the parish community to come together as one by performing acts of service, love and sacrifice for others. Acts of service for the week are posted on Sunday for all parishioners to see and hopefully, become more involved.

Success Story #2:
During Advent and Lent, the entire parish took part in "W I D F O" (What I Did For Others) by writing their personal acts on small paper cut-outs, made by CCE students. Each individual act was then transferred onto large posters hung on either side of the altar. Every week Father would acknowledge the growing list of acts.
Deeds were recorded in more than six languages as well as simple XXXs and OOOs from the youngest parishioners. Each week, the plain brown poster transformed with more colorful acts of service, love and sacrifice for others, in imitation of Jesus, in His Name, as one parish community.

Web site: sacredheartmanvel.org

Sacred Heart, Crosby

Action Plan:
Promote liturgical and spiritual development through a variety of multi-lingual activities.

Success Story:
The Homily is published via social media prior to Mass. This helps prepare parishioners for the Gospel message. It also gives time to develop a Spanish translation of the Homily for a "whisper translation" performed real time at all Masses. The parish also purchased missalettes in Spanish.

The parish also promotes liturgical and spiritual development through praying the Rosary before Mass, Catholicism DVDs and installing acolytes. The end result is more parishioners getting involved in other aspects of the Masses and church community.

Web site: sacredheartcrosby.org

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Houston (Cy-Fair)

Action Plan #1:
Promote a Spirituality of Communion focus with multicultural statues and within the liturgy and other means.

Success Story #1:
Multicultural statues of our Blessed Lady adorn the chapel where the parish holds Adoration 24/7. This has sparked dialogue as parishioners seek to understand the story and culture behind the different statues.

Father also educated the task force using the Archdiocese's Fostering a Spirituality of Communion materials. The task force then developed a primary objective and elements of a campaign, including both a liturgical focus (environment, homilies, Prayers of the Faithful, speakers at Mass) as well as communication channels available to publicize the campaign. The campaign materials and events included signage, web site information, guest speakers, and weekly bulletin inserts.

Action Plan #2:
Add a multi-lingual "Spirituality of Communion" catechesis module for elementary, middle school and high school faith formation programs.

Success Story: #2
Created session modules for English, Spanish and Vietnamese youth faith formation programs, developed a session module for Confirmation, and also implemented an annual Day of Reflection.

Action Plan #3:
Create a Spirituality of Communion committee to address the challenge of integrating intercultural and ethnic perspectives in our English, Spanish, and Vietnamese communities.

Success Story #3:
Developed a public awareness campaign, ministry of the month and program to unify the parish’s rich diversity. Materials included a Spirituality of Communion banner, flyers for the bulletin, and web site updates to emphasize the campaign and the many ministries offered at the parish. Messages were delivered throughout religious education classes, schools, and Mass.

A Hospitality Ministry was also formed where parishioners would greet parishioners and visitors at the church entrance before every weekend Mass.

Web site: seascatholic.org

St. Martha, Kingwood

Action Plan:
Focus on special devotions, especially from all cultures represented within the parish.

Success Story:
A committee was formed of three representatives each from the Anglo and Hispanic communities to share ideas and to develop a program. Both groups learned much from the planning process and developed a better understanding of each group’s perspective for the Blessed Mother. The group focused on two devotions: The Celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe (OLG) and Posada in an effort to bring together the Anglo and Hispanic communities.

The end result was a parish celebration, not just a Hispanic celebration. It stimulated a sense of unity.

Web site: stmartha.com

St. Raphael the Archangel, Houston (Woodlake/Briar Meadow)

Action Plan:
Form multi-lingual bible study classes.

Success Story:
Started evening Bible study in Spanish reading scriptures from the Holy Bible. Participation in the classes continues to grow prompting the addition of more classes.

Sts. Simon & Jude, The Woodlands

Action Plan:
Partner with “sister” parish on multi-cultural activities.

Success Story:
In cooperation with St. Anthony of Padua, teams developed a Hispanic Ministry Council that delivers Spanish liturgy and access to Spanish Sacraments, as required, at both parishes every weekend. The parishes hired a bilingual retired priest and share the cost. The parish is also pleased to see former parishioners returning, who had migrated to other parishes offering a Spanish Mass.

Web site: www.ssjwoodlands.com